Thursday 1 September 2016 6:14 pm

London tech startup and Visa partner on blockchain - and want banks' help

A London-based blockchain startup has partnered with pay giant Visa and will start testing the technology to make cross-border payments.

It's the latest collaboration between an established financial services firm and a startup to experiment with the distributed ledger technology which experts believe could reduce costs and speed up transactions.

Read more: These big banks are working on a digital currency together

BTL Group, based at Canary Wharf's fintech incubator Level 39 will work with Visa Europe on applying its settlement platform Interbit to automate international transfers and come up with a so-called proof-of-concept.

They are also looking for banks to join the experimental pilot project.

"Participating banks will be able to connect to the network and send funds to other banks in the network across multiple currencies. We’ll work closely together on the development and implementation of the proof of concept, ensuring that all participants come away with new knowledge and insight into the role that the blockchain could play in interbank settlements in the future," said the co-founder of Visa's innovation hub Hendrik Kleinsmiede.

“For me the opportunity is a fascinating and potentially very beneficial one. Through the use of smart contracts and blockchains I believe we can create a fast, compliant and low-cost interbank payment and settlement service, with embedded regional compliance.

Read more: A major insurance firm just joined this blockchain consortium

Chief executive of BTL Guy Halford-Thompson said: "This is a great opportunity for forward-thinking banks to take part in a blockchain based settlement pilot backed by one of the world’s leading financial institutions, and to showcase the abilities of BTL’s Interbit platform."

Several of the biggest financial groups in the world and several tech startups are working on blockchain  technology.

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